This inventive mystery novel pivots on philology being the key to who we are. The Vostyach of the title has been struck dumb by trauma until he meets a sympathetic linguist. She heralds him as a scientific discovery - a missing link- and takes him from wilderness to civilisation. Whom she chooses to trust is the catalyst to an intricately plotted tale of murder, intrigue, ambition and regret. A Columbo style procedural ends with an ironic twist.